Big companies know a lot about you; they know more than you think. They know if you are about to have a child. They know if you have recently been hired at a new job. They even know the things that you like. Sound a little weird? Well it’s been going on for some time and grows more every day. I have skateboarding ads and fitness ads pop up throughout my Facebook feed all of time, thus proving it really does pay attention. Kinda odd.
However, some companies want to use all of the data analytics methods in the industry to use these tactics in a positive way. One such company data-mines everyone in your Twitter and Facebook social network to figure out who can help you with whatever you need done. They can find people to fix your roof or even someone that have some aspirin for you.
They have ways to profile users and match ads against the user, but these companies are using it to benefit the user, not simply sell products.
It’s a lot like the way Home Depot puts together an online ad campaign targeting a specific consumer group, such as roofers from before. Their first targets will be people who say they’re handymen or are interested in fixing things. Then they go more in depth and match the users on less obvious things. These things include browser style, screen resolution, bandwidth provider, etc. These are small data points that seem meaningless, but actually contribute to building full profiles of who people are and what they do.
These companies find a user that is looking for a repair man at home, or one that needs help installing a swing set and is looking for help nearby from a neighbor and the company sets the user of with a graph of their friends, friends of Facebook friends, or people who indicated that they are repair men. The company builds the profile and completes it based on things that are not obvious. This is sincerely mind blowing and will change things monumentally.
The platform is also good at categorizing items. If someone is hunting for a person to put together that swing set, it will know to look for handymen. If a user says they’re looking for aspirin, it will know to search for nearby painkillers.
The platform will spook some people, which makes a lot of sense. It kind of seems like a way to spy on neighbors, but the companies like to say it’s like search engines.
Even though this is a marvelously intriguing idea, will it fall victim to privacy concerns as everything else seems to do?